Mindset

The mountain doesn't care

Years ago, when I was in the throws of my hiking life as an employee in Rocky Mountain National Park, I spent every day off doing one of the many hikes the park had to offer.

This is me with Dave, who offered to battle mountain lines with Neil Diamond songs.

This is me with Dave, who offered to battle mountain lines with Neil Diamond songs.

At the start of every hike was a a sign exclaiming various truths about the mountain.

One truth was that a bobcat might eat you. My friend Dave always assured us that if he sang Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman” at the top of his lungs, he’d keep any mountain lions at bay.

After hearing him sing, I agreed.

But the other truth proffered on every sign was that, quite simply, the mountain didn’t care.

You needed to get off of the mountain before the storms rolled in every afternoon.

The mountain didn’t care about your opinions, feelings or excuses. It didn't care if you started your hike late, as I did one afternoon, that you'd have to squat on one leg above tree-line to avoid the lightening strikes. Which was REALLYREALLYHARD.

You could offer all of the excuses you want, but the bottom line on the mountain stayed the same -storms would roll in above treeline in the afternoon because the mountain didn’t care.

And you know what? Fitness is no different.

You can’t buy fitness. You can’t steal results. You can’t fake effort and still get results. As much as I try to send out a message of kindness and compassion, I find this situation to be a case of both/and.

I want you to treat yourself with kindness and compassion and to be patient with your body, your mind and your efforts. But I want you to put forth the effort. Because if you don’t - fitness doesn’t care.

You absolutely, unequivocally, no bones about it, have to give something to get something. You have to. You have to show up and do the work. You either do the work or you don’t.

And if you are struggling to get results, are you being honest with yourself about your efforts?

I completely embrace your efforts to do the best that you can. I will cheer-lead you all day if you are doing a little more today than yesterday. I will be jumping up and down in your corner as you make the small changes, week by week, as you move towards your ultimate goals.

In the past five weeks, I’ve been doing my fair share of running, returning to the fitness routine that got me through my twenties and half of my thirties. And as I chugged my way up a hill today, I was reminded of an interview I saw years ago with Lance Armstrong, prior to his admission of drug use, where he talked about embracing the discomfort.

The only way to even participate in the Tour de France is to embrace the pain and discomfort that came with the ride.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer - but let’s face it, if you really want results, you need to expect some struggle.

You have to, in the words of my former college lacrosse teammate Sandy, embrace the suck.

Because fitness doesn't care.

And I mean that in the nicest way possible...

I'm not old and neither are you

My mom hanging out with me at BP practice before the Cleveland Indians game in July. She’s not too old to do anything, I promise you that.

My mom hanging out with me at BP practice before the Cleveland Indians game in July. She’s not too old to do anything, I promise you that.

A few years ago, in a conversation with an athletic trainer about my sore shoulder, he ended the conversation with:

It seems to me you have a case of O.L.D.S.

Nothing came out of my mouth, but in my mind I let loose a string of indignant profanities. Old? At 35? Really? That’s the best you can do?

In his defense, as an athletic trainer he worked largely with high school and college athletes, the oldest of whom was probably 22. So yes, in his line of work, I was old. And let’s face it, 42 year old Tiger Woods has looked very old in some of his recent golf matches as he deals with chronic back pain.

But he also won the Masters at age 42. And as much as it pains me to admit this, Tom Brady is re-writing what it means to play football into your forties. So while I’m not a fan (and you wouldn’t be either if he wasn’t on your team), I love how he is re-defining what it means to age.

No, what bothered me most about various interactions I’ve had with health professionals over the past seven or eight years is the language they use.

There is a danger in telling people they’re old. Because what if they start to believe it?

A quick google search will give you links to a number of studies demonstrating that attitude has everything to do with how quickly you do age.

One study by researchers at the University of Exeter asked 29 people between the ages of 66 and 98 about their experiences with aging to determine what impact their attitudes and beliefs had on aging.

Participants had varying degrees of physical health. Some lived in care homes while others lived alone. The majority of participants indicated that they were in good shape, even though there were others in better condition.

Two people identified themselves as old and frail, even though they were in better physical shape compared to other participants. Their negative perceptions of their age led to a marked decline in health through participants removing themselves from social activities and exercise.

If you are familiar with the idea of the self-fulfilling prophesy, then you know the concept that your attitude affects the outcome. If you believe you’re going to fail at something, you’ll probably fail.

If you believe that you are too old to play golf, go to a gym, or walk you’re dog then chances are you will age faster than if you believe that you can still do those things.

Don’t get me wrong – one of the challenges of aging is adjusting expectations. I’m in the beginning of a challenge that has me doing two 30 minute workouts per day. Eleven days into the challenge and I’m feeling every bit of my 42 years. So I’ll adjust my workouts today to include walking and stretching.

My body is cashing in on many of those checks that I wrote in my teens and twenties.

But that doesn’t make me old.

I look to my 73 year old parents as the best role models in this department. (If you see Dad on Monday, buy him a beer for his birthday…) My mom still gets down on the floor to play with my niece and nephew. Dad golfs every day, mows the lawn, and they both pull weeds in the garden. They are both incredibly active.

They both navigate plenty of aches and pains, but my mom said it best when she turned 70:

Don’t ever call me old.

In fact, don’t every call anyone old. Because they might just start to believe it.

P.S. If you'd like to pick up some Kim Lloyd Fitness gear, my webstore is once again open for business. You can get your own Be Strong Be Kind gear here.

What if we stopped talking about food as good or bad?

A few weeks ago, Sheila and I were out to dinner.

One of my favorite things is to try new restaurants and new atmospheres. I can’t really cook all that well, but I’ve become a bit of a foodie and Maine has no shortage of great restaurants to try.

On this particular night we found a good spot in Falmouth and settled in for our meals, when I ordered a Cobb salad.

I’m trying to be good, I’d said to Sheila, who hadn’t asked.

We continued on with our meal, and enjoyed a nice conversation before strolling out to the car, walking slowly and enjoying the warm summer night., We got into the car and before she started the engine, she stopped for a minute and looked at me.

This image by my friend and wild life photographer Joe Chandler doesn’t have anything to do with food - but it’s awfully adorable.

This image by my friend and wild life photographer Joe Chandler doesn’t have anything to do with food - but it’s awfully adorable.

“You know, when you say that you’re trying to be good with your food, it makes me feel like my choices are bad.”

Ohhhhhh suh-nap.

Upon reflection, I realized that I was doing this all of the time. How many of us have this same dichotomous view of food? Broccoli is good, pasta is bad. Grilled chicken is good, ice cream is bad. It’s a great way to make you and the people around you feel awful.

I try so hard to pay attention to language. I try to remind clients every day to not minimize their achievements.

I only did three sets.

No, you did three sets.

It’s just one pushup.

No, it’s one pushup.

The thing about food though, is that I don’t think half of us pay attention to the way we talk about it. It’s not just saying that food is good or bad – I’ve also caught myself saying– upon eating a bowl of ice cream or chocolate snack at work, “good thing I worked out today.”

Or, “I’m going to need to workout now that I’ve eaten this.”

No.

We don’t need to earn our food, and we don’t need to punish ourselves for the food we do eat. We also don’t need to talk about our food in a way that shames other people.

I had a conversation with a client last week who was out to breakfast with her friends. One of those friends was on a diet and the way she talked about her food and what she was going to order affected everyone else at the table.

She didn’t just turn down the toast with her eggs – she turned down the toast and offered the commentary that toast had so many carbs.

“It’s a restaurant you go to once a summer,” the client said. “And I was absolutely ordering the stuffed French toast - I’d been looking forward to it. But her commentary affected everyone else at the table and made the whole experience less enjoyable.”

We don’t know what someone else’s struggles are. We don’t know what someone else’s situation is. But when we make unsolicited commentary on everything we eat, it can have unintended results.

Ever since Sheila’s comment to me about “being good,” I’ve caught myself saying that phrase a hundred times. And each time now, I remind myself that my language matters.

Language always matters.

F*** the scale

Pardon my inference of profanity there.

But seriously.

I’ve been in a sprint mode these past four weeks with my fitness and nutrition. Not only am I coaching several clients in an online nutrition program* - I’ve been really focusing on my own anchor habits - eating slowly, eating until I’m 80% full, and hitting at least 100 grams of protein every day.

kimlloydfitness.jpg

I’ve been tracking my food, increasing my workouts, and yesterday I came in to the gym feeling pretty darn good about myself.

Then I got on the scale we have.

Before I go on about how I almost put a stick of dynamite on the scale and launched it into a 50th anniversary trip to the moon:

I am and have always been fairly lean and I’ve never struggled with my weight. But I still have my own goals with fitness, and I certainly still have body image struggles. I’d love to say that I’m immune, but I’m just not.

So yesterday……

The scale said I’d gained two pounds of fat and lost a pound of muscle.

I was seething.

The string of expletives that came out of my mouth would have caused my mother to slap my face for a month. (Sorry Mom, that I said all of the things).

I mean if the scale didn’t cost thousands of dollars, I’d have taken it out to the parking lot and driven Doug’s F150 over it. Then I’d have take a sledge hammer to it, danced a fing polka with a three ton moose on it, before throwing the ever loving piece of **** on I95 for all of the summer traffic to drive over.

Until December.

Because what the *^%*&?

It was really hard not to let the results ruin my day.

But then, as I was sitting in my corner in the gym lobby (no really, there’s a sign, I have my own corner), stewing on my scale results - I put my elbows on the bar and my head in my hands.

This process takes work. I know this process takes work.

And I’m not talking about the work it takes to get my nutrition on point or my workouts in for the week. That takes work too.

I’m talking about the work it takes every damn day to shift your perspective.

It is a daily practice to work on your mindset.

Accepting yourself, loving your body, and loving who you are is as much a daily practice as brushing your teeth.

It’s all good and fine for me to run over a scale with my car. And if your curious, I did that with the old scale from the gym - and yes - I also used a sledge hammer on said scale and it was very cathartic.



But it takes daily reminders and practices for me to love and accept myself for who I am now, and not who I will be when I lose more body fat or add more muscle. It’s a daily commitment and a daily job to love ourselves.

And dammit, it’s hard. Really really hard.

But it’s a daily practice, and we have to hold one another accountable to the process. So I’ll hold you accountable, and the next time you see me….

Maybe check to see that I haven’t started a dumpster fire with the scale.

I mean, just in case.


*I’m going to open a few additional spots in my program beginning in August. Shoot me an email at kim@kimlloydfitness if you want more information.

The only way out is through

That’s a line from an Alanis Morissette song.

Some of you reading this might suddenly have a flashback to that time you were on a date with a frat guy named Alan who had a six-disc changer in his car when it was cool and he played the song Ironic for you while you were busy getting homesick at the site of a stop sign because you’d only been away at college for two weeks, and you were thinking that his car smelled like sweaty gym socks and he was wearing too much Drakkar Noir.

I mean, generally speaking that might have come up for you.

Well, I’m just letting it all out here. This is what I dressed like when I was listening to Alanis Morrissete my freshman year of college.

Well, I’m just letting it all out here. This is what I dressed like when I was listening to Alanis Morrissete my freshman year of college.

This song lyric is actually not from Jagged Little Pill, which I know half of you out there reading remember as her debut album of the early nineties - but I’ve always liked the phrase - the only way out is through. It seems a milder version of Nike’s Just Do It.

I was reminded of this lyric recently while reading a nutrition article. Like many people, I’m an avid consumer of information, whether that’s through reading or listening to podcasts and books. I just really enjoy learning. One of the challenges of the constant influx of information though, is paralysis. So the other day, when I read this line:

Action is more important than information - I had a mind blown moment.

The article went on to say that no matter how much you know, or how much you want to change, in the end, it’s only action that creates change.

I mean I know that action is more important, I just forget it all of the time.

I think we all do.

I’m trying to apply the action concept to my writing as I work on my second book (the first one is due out in September). On any given day I spend more time thinking about my book, talking about the concepts or reading about writing than I actually spend writing. Which somehow leaves me feeling exhausted without anything to show for said exhaustion.

Sound familiar?

I actually had this conversation with my therapist last week, and so she gave me an assignment, which I’m practicing right now. Write for 15 minutes a day.

I lobbied her to drop the number down, you know, to set me up for success in case I missed a day, but she’s a hard ass and didn’t budge.

Everyday, she said.

And what if I don’t hit that? I asked.

Then we’ll talk about it next time.

So far, I’ve hit my 15 minutes a day.

Because I’m spending 15 minutes a day working on the action of writing. I’m not reading about it, thinking about it or talking about it.

Let me emphasize that last point a bit:

I’m not thinking about it.

Sometimes we think ourselves into exhaustion about any given change on any given day. We’re so toasted from mentally ruminating on something that it wears us out.

But these past few days, I’ve just be shutting up and doing it.

And it’s been ugly.

Stream of consciousness, ranting, no punctuation, lots of ellipses - ugly. But it’s happening. The only way to write is to put your butt in the seat and write.

The only way to change is to take action towards that change.

The only way out is through.

You can’t get through if you’re not moving. You can’t see change if you’re not doing. I know you know this. But since when does knowing mean doing? How many times have you ever said to yourself, or your coach or therapist, I know what I need to be doing, I’m just not doing it?

If everyone did the thing though, I probably wouldn’t have a job because coaching isn’t about telling people what to do - it’s helping them figure out how to do things.

So this is what I want you to do. I want you to, right now, at this very moment, put your phone down and pull out a piece of paper and write down anything you’d like to change in your life.

You’d like to be more physically active, you’d like to clean off your desk, dust your bookshelf, go through one drawer of clothes and go all Marie Kondo on it (does that 15 year old stretched out sports bra give you joy?) - finally make that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off - whatever the task may be, pick one thing and take action on it for five minutes a day.

You can do anything for five minutes.

Ok?

Ok.

Good talk.

P.S. Are you ready to take action with your nutrition, but not sure where to start? Comment below or send me an email at kim@kimlloydfitness.com to find out more about my online nutrition coaching program that starts in July.

**Not open to Spurling Fitness members - we’ve got your nutrition coaching covered :-)